Abhimaan (1973)

  • Written by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Nabendu Ghosh, Biresh Chatterjee and Mohini N. Sippy
  • Directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee

   Repeat Value : 10 / 10     

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 Pehle main akela tha ... aur ab bilkul akela hoon 

a popular dialog from Abhimaan



Abhimaan - Movie Highlights

In today's fast world, even films are being churned out like products in a factory whose fate is sealed on Friday. Some win, some loose but as soon as they are out of theatres they are forgotten. There is a saying that 'A good movie should entertain, but a great movie must connect'. And for a movie to remain in your hearts for 40+ years is no mean feat. Such movies never age. And it is Hrishikesh Mukherjee's timeless classic 'Abhimaan' (pride), with its enduring appeal which still holds the same charm. He was one of the best directors around that time, and this is one of his gems and a milestone in Indian cinema. The film is perhaps best remembered for its story, performances and its evergreen songs. Hint of the plot inspiration is from 'A Star is Born' but Hrishida based the film's story on the life of singer Kishore Kumar and his first wife, Ruma Ghosh. Such was the popularity of the film that it ran successfully for 590 days in Empire Cinema, Colombo (Sri Lanka).

Subeer Kumar (Amitabh Bachchan) is a popular singer who has millions of fans. Despite the fact that he is adored, he is lonely with only few friends, his secretary Chander (Asrani) and Chitra (Bindu). He has no intention of getting married, but when he goes to visit his aunt, Durga Mausi (mother's sister), who lives in a distant village, he meets Uma (Jaya Bhaduri), who is also a singer learning classical music from her father A K Hangal. Subeer falls in love with Uma and marries her. Back in Bombay, they settle into domestic bliss. At their wedding reception they render a duet which draws Brijeshwar Rai (David), a music baron. Subeer announces that he will never sing without Uma again. And then the problems start. Uma is flooded with offers from music composers. She is reluctant to join the race, but is persuaded by Subeer to sing alone. As Uma's singing career begins to thrive, his career falters and a seed of jealousy begins to grow. Uma's career reaches inimitable heights and soon Subeer feels quite lonely again. He is unable to digest his wife's rising fame and its slow eclipsing of his own career. He crumbles under the weight of his misguided ego and misplaced pride. Subeer starts losing interest in work, takes to drinking and spends more and more time with his friend Chitra. Uma volunteers to stop singing which only enrages him further and eventually results in the collapse of their marriage. And in the ensuing argument between them, in a moment of pique, he tells Uma that he doesn't need her. She returns to her father's home. Uma is pregnant by then but hurt by her husband's attitude she slips into deep depression and loses the unborn child. His pride and jealousy tear the marriage apart. It was music that brought them together, music that does them apart and ultimately music that unites them. How Subeer overcomes his jealousy and realizes his mistake forms the crux of the story?

Abhimaan is considered to be one of the finest gems of Hindi films. It is a beautiful story involving many aspects of marriage, success and competition. More than just a reflection of man's ego, his fall from grace, eventual defeat, surrender and redemption, the film's enduring appeal lies primarily in the fine glimpse of the delicate balance and intricate nuances of marriage. It is a simple story narrated in a very touching and mesmerizing way. The film touches the zenith when it comes to portraying jealousy of human nature. It scores on many fronts. It moves at a very nice pace and is only two hours long, an exception in Hindi cinema. It leaves the audience in tears and numb in the heart thus connecting with us on a different level which most movies are un-capable of. In what is considered a masterpiece of direction by Mukherjee, watch this movie to feel the warmth of good film-making. The strength of his films has always been the down to earth characters and stories that are easy to relate to and Abhimaan is not an exception. Hrishikesh Mukherjee along with Basu Chatterjee and Shakti Samanta brought the golden era to Hindi cinema. The way it is made, treated by the filmmaker makes it a must-watch for every cinephile. He is realistic in approach and balanced and never goes overboard. With music being the soul of the film, composer Sachin Dev Burman was at his zenith which fetched him a Filmfare Award for his compositions. Majrooh Sultanpuri pens some great lyrics. Breezy song Meet na mila re man ka by Kishore Kumar, Teri Bindiya Re sung by Lata and Rafi, and Tere Mere Milan Ki by Lata and Kishore Kumar, Nadiya Kinare, Ab Tho Hai Tumse, and Piya Bina all are true gems in this enchanting film.

This is a lovely little movie which has some really strong performances. Amitabh gives a dynamite performance, first as the heartthrob, then as the lover and finally as the egotistical husband. He displays all the feelings brilliantly. Bachchan's Subeer could have easily been a one-dimensional caricature of jealous husband but he brilliantly brings out the human side portraying him as a devoted husband who did try to accept his wife's more successful singing career until his ego got the better of him. At the same time he also feels guilt and is ashamed of his growing resentment towards his wife. It is a treat to watch pre-stardom Amitabh, before he became the people's greatest hero. But the film belongs to Jaya Bhaduri and she delivers a splendid performance. She is first a bubbly young girl, then a shy newly married bride, then a successful yet humble artist, then a woman who intelligently understands her husband's feelings and despair and takes a firm decision, then a suffering wife who bears the brunt of her husband's anger. She displays the whole gamut of right emotions and expressions giving one of the most realistic performances ever seen. She won a Filmfare Best Actress award for her flawless performance. And the chemistry between Bachchan and Bhaduri is excellent and compelling. The faithful ensemble of character actors also delivers good supporting acts. Asrani is terrific as the secretary cum friend. Bindu is surprisingly warmhearted and lovely. David, Durga Khote and A. K. Hangal all shine in their parts.

Keep revisiting 'Abhimaan' as it is not just a film but an experience in itself and any repeat watch will leave you touched each time. Overall, it is a timeless classic!